Student Athlete’s Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies Is Costly

Nov 4, 2005

A New York State court has dismissed the petition of a high school athlete, who claimed he was entitled to an extra year of athletic eligibility because he was home-schooled as a 9th grader.
Specifically, the justice found that Mathew Guy did not exhaust all of his administrative remedies before seeking court intervention and that his circumstance did not meet the conditions set forth in the bylaws of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Inc. (Association) that would allow for a 5th year of eligibility.
Guy was a 17-year-old senior at Bishop Ludden, Jr./Sr. High School, who had his sights set on playing football at Bishop Ludden. Guy participated in the pre-season practices at Bishop Ludden. But shortly before the season was to begin, Bishop Ludden’s athletic director was notified by the Association that Guy was not eligible to play in the 2005-2006 year.
Guy sued, claiming he was home-schooled during his freshman year and “due to that home schooling, he was precluded from participating in interscholastic sports. Because he was precluded from participating in interscholastic sports, he was forced to have used a year of eligibility by being home schooled.”
He further alleged that the provision cited as authority for the assessment by the defendant was arbitrary, capricious and unconstitutionally interpreted and administered by the Association.
Thus, Guy sought a preliminary injunction against the defendants, allowing him to participate in all high school interscholastic sports, and ultimately a permanent injunction.
Considering the evidence, the court wrote that the “Petitioners do not dispute that Matthew Guy is in his fifth year of high school. Home schooling is not within the definition of the provision for an extension based on accident, illness or similar circumstance beyond the control of the student. A student’s four years of eligibility begins upon entry into ninth grade whether ninth grade is in his home or in a school.
“A request for a fifth year of eligibility sought by petitioners must be made to the Section Three Extended Eligibility Committee. No such application was made. No appeal has been brought before the Association regarding this matter. Therefore, there is no determination by the Association for the Court to review.”
Matthew I. Guy et al. v. New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Inc., et al.; S.Ct.N.Y. Onondaga County; 05-4983; 9/28/05
Attorneys of Record: (for petitioners) Carl F. Guy of Guy Law Office in Syracuse, NY. (for respondents) Roger B. Williams, Assistant Attorney General, Attorney for Commissioner of the NYS Dept. of Education in Syracuse, NY. Renee L. James, Attorney for New York Public High School Athletic Assoc. in Jamesville, NY. James P. Evans, Evans Law Firm Attorneys for Bishop Ludden Jr./Sr. High School in Syracuse, NY.


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